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01 November 2006

Divorce hits health hard

Divorce can have a negative long-term impact on rural women's health, says an Iowa State University study.

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Divorce can have a negative long-term impact on rural women's health, says an Iowa State University study.

The 10-year study included 416 rural Iowa women, including 102 who were recently divorced when the study began in the early 1990s.

"What we found was that the act of getting a divorce produced no immediate effects on (physical health), but it did have effects on mental health," study co-author Fred Lorenz told the Associated Press. "Ten years later, those effects on mental health led to effects in physical health."

Divorce tied to mental woes
In the years immediately after divorce, the divorced women reported 7 percent higher levels of psychological distress than married women, but did not report any higher levels of physical health problems at that time.

However, a decade later, the divorced women reported 37 percent more physical health problems - ranging from colds and sore throats to cancer and heart conditions - than the married women, the AP reported.

The findings suggest a connection between physical illness and divorce-associated stresses such as financial and parenting problems, Lorenz said. The study was published last summer (winter in the southern hemisphere) in the Journal of Health and Social Behaviour. – HealthDayNews)

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